Pacific Northwest Region (R6)

Climate change and peak flows: Knowledge-to-action to help managers address impacts on streamflow dynamics and aquatic habitat

Contact First Name: 
Gordon
Contact Last Name: 
Grant
Principal Investigator(s): 
Gordon Grant, Anne Nolin, Becky Flitcroft
Research Partners: 
Oregon State University
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

What will the rivers of the Pacific Northwest look like in the future? Will they be stable or unstable? Will they have salmon or other species? Will the waters be cold and clear or warm and muddy? These questions motivate our study of the effects of climate warming on streams draining the Cascade Mountains.

Previous studies have shown that snowpacks throughout the Cascades are highly vulnerable to warming temperatures, readily changing from snow to rain, and melting earlier. Less certain is how these changes are likely to affect streamflows, particularly in streams that derive much of their flow from deep groundwater and springs. These groundwater streams, which are currently characterized by very stable bed, banks, and vegetation, are particularly sensitive to increasing peak flows in the winter. We want to know how changing snowpacks and increased peak flows are likely to affect these channels, potentially changing their suitability as habitat for threatened species such as bull trout and spring Chinook. Results from our work, which include field and modeling components, will be used to guide management decisions affecting these streams: how dams are operated, whether water suppliers need to worry about turbidity, and how we should manage riparian vegetation.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Southwest Region (R5)
California
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Washington
Project Status: 
Action
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/23/2014

Coupling snowpack and groundwater dynamics to interpret historical streamflow trends in the western United States

Contact First Name: 
Gordon
Contact Last Name: 
Grant
Principal Investigator(s): 
Gordon Grant, Mohammad Safeeq
Research Partners: 
Oregon State University
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

A key challenge for resource and land managers is predicting the consequences of climate warming on streamflow and water resources. Over the last century in the western US, significant reductions in snowpack and earlier snowmelt have led to an increase in the fraction of annual streamflow during winter, and a decline in the summer. This study explores the relative roles of snowpack accumulation and melt, and landscape characteristics or 'drainage efficiency', in influencing streamflow. An analysis of streamflow during 1950-2010 for 81 watersheds across the western US indicates that summer streamflows in watersheds that drain slowly from deep groundwater and receive precipitation as snow are most sensitive to climate warming. During the spring, however, watersheds that drain rapidly and receive precipitation as snow are most sensitive to climate warming. Our results indicate that not all trends in the western US are associated with changes in snowpack dynamics; we observe declining streamflow in late fall and winter in rain-dominated watersheds as well. These empirical findings have implications for how streamflow sensitivity to warming is interpreted across broad regions.

Project Abstract: 

See more below

Research Results: 

Coupling snowpack and groundwater dynamics to interpret historical stream flow trends in the western United States - http://www.fsl.orst.edu/wpg/pubs/13_Safeeqetal_HP.pdf

Geographic Region: 
United States
Northern Region (R1)
Idaho
Montana
Intermountain Region (R4)
Idaho
Nevada
Utah
Pacific Southwest Region (R5)
California
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Washington
Project Status: 
Complete
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/23/2014

Evaluating landscape level sensitivity to changing peak and low streamflow regimes

Contact First Name: 
Gordon
Contact Last Name: 
Grant
Principal Investigator(s): 
Gordon Grant, Mohammad Safeeq, Brian Staab
Research Partners: 
Oregon State University, FS Region 6
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

Changes in timing and magnitudes of streamflows under climate change pose significant risks to ecosystems, infrastructure, and overall availability of water for human use. We have developed a spatial analysis that predicts how both peak (winter) and low (summer) streamflows are likely to change in the future for Oregon and Washington. This set of spatial tools gives land managers a full toolbox with which to anticipate and plan for streamflow changes on forest lands.

Project Abstract: 

See more below

Research Results: 

A geohydrologic framework for characterizing summer streamflow sensitivity to climate warming in the Pacific Northwest, USA - http://www.fsl.orst.edu/wpg/pubs/14_Safeeqetal_HESS_discussion.pdf

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Washington
Project Status: 
Action
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/23/2014

Watering the Forests for the Trees: an emerging priority for managing water in forest landscapes

Contact First Name: 
Gordon
Contact Last Name: 
Grant
Principal Investigator(s): 
Gordon Grant, Naomi Tague, Craig Allen
Research Partners: 
UC Santa Barbara, US Geological Survey
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

Water stress represents a common mechanism for many of the primary disturbances affecting forests, and forest management needs to explicitly address the very large physiological demands that vegetation has for water. This study demonstrates how state-of-science ecohydrologic models can be used to explore how different management strategies might improve forest health.

Project Abstract: 

Widespread threats to forests due to drought stress prompt re-thinking of priorities for water management on forest lands. In contrast to the widely held view that forest management should emphasize providing water for downstream uses, we argue that maintaining forest health in the face of environmental change may require focusing on the forests themselves and strategies to reduce their vulnerability to increasing water stress in the context of a changing climate. Management strategies would need to be tailored to specific landscapes but could include: a) thinning; 2) encouraging drought-tolerant species; 3) irrigation; and 4) strategies that make more water available to plants for transpiration. Hydrologic modeling reveals that specific management actions could reduce tree mortality due to drought stress. Adopting water conservation for vegetation as a priority for managing water on forest lands would represent a fundamental change in perspective and potentially involve tradeoffs with other downstream uses of water.

Research Results: 

Watering the Forests for the Trees: an emerging priority for managing water in forest landscapes - http://www.fsl.orst.edu/wpg/pubs/13_Granteal_WFFT.pdf

Geographic Region: 
United States
Alaska Region (R10)
Northern Region (R1)
Rocky Mountain Region (R2)
Southwestern Region (R3)
Intermountain Region (R4)
Pacific Southwest Region (R5)
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Southern Region (R8)
Eastern Region (R9)
Virgin Islands
Project Status: 
Complete
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/23/2014

Use of Natural Areas for Monitoring Long-term Effects of Climate Change

Contact First Name: 
Todd M.
Contact Last Name: 
Wilson
Principal Investigator(s): 
Todd M. Wilson
Research Partners: 
Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State University
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

Natural areas are special areas set aside for research, conservation, and education. There are over 580 natural areas in Oregon and Washington totaling >1.4 million acres and managed by 20 agencies and organizations. These include Forest Service Research Natural Areas (RNAs) as well as BLM RNAs and Areas of Critical Ecological Concern. Natural areas may one of the best network of sites for studying long-term effects of climate change and this project focuses on three areas of study. The first is to determine if natural areas adequately represent the depth and breadth of the natural ecosystems found in both states. The second is to prioritize sites that may be most vulnerable to climate change effects in the next several decades. Initial findings suggest natural areas are representative across several ecological gradients important for understanding effects of long-term climate and ecological change. In addition, several lists are being developed to help prioritize monitoring based on predictions from a broad range of existing climate change models. The third area of focus is to develop a standardized set of monitoring protocols for long-term monitoring of change using existing and new protocols. New methods being tested include use of terrestrial LIDAR plots to monitor changes in forest structure over time.

Project Abstract: 

See more below

Expected Outcomes: 

1. Prioritized list of natural areas to focus monitoring efforts.
2. Set of climate change monitoring protocols.

Research Results: 

Massie, M. H. 2014. Assessment of the Vulnerability of Oregon and Washington’s Natural Areas to Climate Change. Master's thesis. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Washington
Project Status: 
Action
Record Entry Date: 
Mon, 09/22/2014

Forest Planner

Overview & Applicability

The Forest Planner enables landowners in Oregon and Washington to find, map, and design custom forest management scenarios for their properties. Users can select the property and forest stands that they want to examine, enter information about the tree species and forest types represented, and select from a variety of management scenarios.

Summary: 

The Forest Planner enables landowners to visualize alternative forest management scenarios for their properties and their effect on variables including timber stocking and yields, carbon storage, and fire and pest hazard ratings.

Climate change and forest management effects in the Lower Joseph project area, northeastern Oregon

Contact First Name: 
Miles
Contact Last Name: 
Hemstrom
Contact 2 First Name: 
David
Contact 2 Last Name: 
Seesholtz
Principal Investigator(s): 
David Seesholtz
Research Partners: 
Oregon State University, Wallowa-Whitman & Umatilla National Forests
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

This project will use climate-connected state and transition models developed as a part of the Integrated Landscape Assessment Project to assist with cumulative effects analysis of alternative management scenarios for the Lower Joseph project area in the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon. The objective is to use the climate-connected state and transition models to evaluate alternative scenarios proposed by local land managers and collaborative groups given possible climate change impacts.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Umatilla National Forest
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Project Status: 
Action
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/16/2014

Climate change and Greater Sage-grouse habitat interactions in southeastern Oregon

Contact First Name: 
Megan
Contact Last Name: 
Creutzberg
Contact 2 First Name: 
Miles
Contact 2 Last Name: 
Hemstrom
Principal Investigator(s): 
Megan Creutzberg
Research Partners: 
Portland State University, USGS Climate Center
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

This project will connect state and transition models developed as a part of the Integrated Landscape Assessment Project with Dynamic Global Vegetation Model outputs for Southeastern Oregon. The objective is to develop a set of vegetation modeling tools that can be used by local land managers and collaborative groups to examine potential rangeland management scenarios and interactions with possible climate change impacts.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Project Status: 
Action
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/16/2014

Climate change and forest management interactions in southwestern Oregon

Contact First Name: 
Emilie
Contact Last Name: 
Henderson
Contact 2 First Name: 
Miles
Contact 2 Last Name: 
Hemstrom
Principal Investigator(s): 
Emilie Henderson
Research Partners: 
Oregon State University, USGS Climate Center
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

This project will connect state and transition models developed as a part of the Integrated Landscape Assessment Project with Dynamic Global Vegetation Model outputs for Southwestern Oregon. The objective is to develop a set of vegetation modeling tools that can be used by local land managers and collaborative groups to examine potential forest management scenarios and interactions with possible climate change impacts.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Project Status: 
Planning
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/16/2014

Climate change and management interactions for forests in the central Oregon Cascades

Contact First Name: 
Miles
Contact Last Name: 
Hemstrom
Contact 2 First Name: 
Jessica
Contact 2 Last Name: 
Halofsky
Principal Investigator(s): 
Miles Hemstrom
Research Partners: 
Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Institute for Natural Resources, US Forest Service
FS Research Station(s): 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary: 

Computer simulation models are often used to project vegetation responses to changing CO2 (carbon dioxide) and climate. We developed a process that links the mechanistic power of dynamic global vegetation models with the detailed vegetation dynamics of state-and-transition models to project local vegetation shifts driven by projected climate change. We applied our approach to central Oregon (USA) ecosystems using three climate change scenarios to assess potential future changes in species composition and community structure.

Project Abstract: 

See more below

Research Results: 

Our results suggest that: (1) legacy effects incorporated in state-and-transition models realistically dampen climate change effects on vegetation; (2) species-specific response to fire built into state-and transition models can result in increased resistance to climate change, as was the case for ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests, or increased sensitivity to climate change, as was the case for some shrublands and grasslands in the study area; and (3) vegetation could remain relatively stable in the short term, then shift rapidly as a consequence of increased disturbance such as wildfire and altered environmental conditions. Managers and other land stewards can use results from our linked models to better anticipate potential climate-induced shifts in local vegetation and resulting effects on wildlife habitat.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Pacific Northwest Region (R6)
Oregon
Project Status: 
Complete
Record Entry Date: 
Tue, 09/16/2014
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